I've really got nowhere else to turn with this! I'm a very confused person in many ways. Gender, sexuality, etc., etc. But what confuses me the most is my spirituality and religion.
I was raised in a semi-spiritual home. My mother was always burning sage and driving out bad spirits, and we prayed sometimes. But the problem is that she left me to choose what to call myself!
I feel very, very connected to the Nahua people, and ancient Mexicans in general, despite not being related to them at all (although my mate is from Mexico). I feel a deep burning desire to worship their deities and to live with them in my heart. When I find something to believe, it is my life... until something persuades me otherwise!
So what's the problem here, really? Well the issue is that I'm not an Amerindian. To me it's just taboo to go about a religion or way of life that isn't your own. If I were to be an Aztec worshiper, I'd still live my American life, but I'd just be into their spirituality. Despite these thoughts, there are still a lot of conflicts about it. I mean there are Caucasian Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and even Shintoists and they're generally accepted by everyone. It's just that something seems wrong with what I want to do.
Please help me, Papa Bear. I look up to you as a person who wishes to be tolerant and helpful, and I am really anxious to see what you have to say (as long as it's not, "Do what you want."!)
Happy Yerfday as well!
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Awesome name, by the way. Thank you for an important question! You are correct that most people in life stick with the religion of their culture and with how they were raised, if they stick with religion at all when they are older. Many Americans, of course, become rather secular and don’t go to church much as adults, except on holidays. Those Americans who do usually stick with the church of their parents: Baptists children become Baptists adults, Mormons become Mormons, Jews grow up Jewish, etc. etc.
In Papabear’s opinion, believing in something because you have been indoctrinated to believe in it since you were a toddler is to just do as you are told. A far stronger faith comes when one travels to it on his or her own accord. This can be, for example, a Christian who converts to Judaism or Islam or shamanism or Wicca, or Jainism, or anything other than his or her original faith. It could also involve dropping out of one’s original faith but then returning to it later after concluding that it is right for you.
Now you may have read before that Papabear isn’t big on organized religion, though I do respect those who follow their faith in all sincerity. Many faiths use scare tactics to keep members, such as “you’re going to Hell unless you believe in Jesus yadda yadda.” Always nice to be threatened, isn’t it? What a loving church that is. My mother lost her final scrap of faith in Christianity when the minister of our church (Southern Baptist) proclaimed, “Jesus wants us to have a new red rug for our church!” Really? Frankly, I don’t think Jesus gives a fat rat’s ass whether your rug is new or worn out.
After observing Christianity as a child and youth, I went on a long journey myself, learning about Far Eastern philosophy and religion from Buddhism to Zoroastrianism. Later, I started to learn about “pagan” beliefs such as Wicca and shamanism, and currently I am learning some Native traditions from a personal teacher. Now, I have absolutely no Native American blood in me. I’m English/German/Russian. Does that mean I can’t study about things like the Medicine Wheel? Absolutely not!
You make it sound like a problem, but your mother has actually done you a huge favor in letting you explore your own spirituality and making your own choice. Sure, that’s a lot harder than just being told what to do, but in the end you will find it much more rewarding.
Spiritual belief is the most personal journey anyone can take. You must find the truths about those things that lie beyond the material world that make the most sense to you and which draw your heart into them. For you, Xochimazatl, that journey has led you to the Nahua people and their beliefs, which make sense to you.
That nagging in the back of your mind that says there is something wrong with this is your cultural upbringing. All around you, you hear people saying you should be a Christian in this country, especially if you are white and watch much television, and you feel guilty and even ashamed to pull away from that tradition. But I say to you right now that your desire to find a belief system that is true for you no matter what is a beautiful and extraordinary thing, and Papabear encourages you to pursue it 100% and without regrets.
May Grandfather Bear watch over you. I wish you love and happiness.
P.S. Thanks for the Yerfday wishes!
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